A bill by Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, making it easier for Maine’s veterans to access benefits earned through their military service earned support at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Transportation Committee Thursday.
The measure, LD 333, would require that driver’s licenses and other state-issued ID cards have the word “veteran” included on the portion of the card that describes military status.
“This is a small, simple way we can make it easier for veterans to provide crystal clear proof of their service,” said Devin. “The idea is to prevent any problems when veterans try to access the benefits they have earned, whether that means state-funded benefits or just getting a discount at a store or a restaurant.”
Currently, licenses indicate veteran status with a backdrop displaying a field of stars in the photo portion. Devin submitted the bill after receiving complaints from veterans who were denied benefits by people who did not understand the significance of the stars.
Among those testifying in support was Linda Grant from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, who acknowledged the potential for confusion and told lawmakers that her department could find ways to start changing licenses without additional cost to taxpayers.
The Transportation Committee will hold a work session on the bill in the coming days before making a recommendation to the full Legislature.
Devin served in the Navy and co-chairs the Legislature’s Veteran’s Caucus. He is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Newcastle, part of Nobleboro, part of South Bristol and Monhegan Plantation.